Savings Account Simplification

Since I finally decided to close my FNBO Direct account, I’ve been thinking a lot about the multitude of savings accounts that I’ve created over the last few years. Most of them are now idle, practically abandoned with only a penny, or maybe a dollar in them.

Many of them I opened for some promotional reason, such as a high teaser rate. When the rate languished, so did my interest in the account. This happened for me at FNBO, HSBC, E*Trade, Washington Mutual (now Chase), and a few others. When my interest in the account waned, I usually just siphoned my balance elsewhere, save perhaps a dollar to keep the account open. Such is the life of a rate chaser. Continue reading

Closing an FNBO Direct Account

Remember the days when banks were actually trying to compete for deposits by raising interest rates on savings accounts? Nope, I don’t either. :-)

I opened an account with FNBO Direct back when they were paying a glorious 6% on their online savings account. Those days have long past, and once their rate started plummeting, I siphoned out all but a single penny. Yesterday, it dawned on me that I have not touched that account since mid-2008. I wondered about my lone penny and whether or not FNBO had claimed it and closed my account for inactivity. Continue reading

Savings Rate Wiki – Facelift

In thinking of ways to make updating the Savings Rate APY Wiki a little easier, I decided to give it a full facelift. Take a look!

It now has better integration with the rest of the site. Plus, it’s hosted by Google Docs, meaning that making updates is as simple as editing a spreadsheet (no more deciphering of wiki syntax). There’s a ton of collaborative abilities built in, too, so if anyone wants to help keep it updated, just contact me. I’ll give you full editing access.

Add this Wiki to your Blog

Feel free to add this same savings Wiki to your site/blog. Here’s the code:

<iframe width='650' height='800' frameborder='0' src='https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?hl=en_US&hl=en_US&key=0AuofEz2vOteOdDdlT3ZLZzNnN3NONzVreFRDX3VDY1E&single=true&gid=0&output=html&widget=true'></iframe>

Just add that code to a new page or post on your blog to share this Wiki with your readers. Hint: be sure to switch to the HTML view if you use WordPress.

Enjoy!

The WORST Online Savings/Money Market Account?

bankmutualdirect-sloganWhat’s the worst online savings or money market account that you can think of? Chase/WaMu? No. E*Trade? Goodness, no. How about OnBank? No, but their current rate (0.50%) does totally suck.

Of course, there’s more than one way to evaluate the worthiness of a bank. Specifically, features, rates, and customer service are the main factors up for consideration.

Customer service aside, let’s talk about features and rates. I’ve been maintaining the Savings Rate Wiki for many months now, and in that time I’ve been able to observe nationally available bank accounts on an almost-daily basis. Most of the available accounts are similar in nature, with the main difference being just slight fluctuations in APY rates.

During my observation time, I’ve come to the conclusion that ONE of the nationally available savings/money market accounts is FAR inferior to all the others. It offers the worst of all worlds: terrible requirements, high fees, and consistently low rates.

Of course, I’m talking about… Bank Mutual Direct!

Why is Bank Mutual Direct so awful? Consider this:

Terrible Requirements

Most online savings accounts and money markets only require a small opening deposit. Actually, one spare dollar will allow you to open most of the accounts listed in the rate wiki. Sure, the Capital One High-Yield Savings account requires a $10,000 minimum, but they also offer two additional accounts with a $1 opening minimum. No big deal.

E-Loan is “high-roller” with a $5,000 required minimum, but it pales in comparison to Bank Mutual Direct.

Are you ready for this? Bank Mutual Direct requires a staggering $25,000 opening minimum deposit. And what does that chunk of cash get you? Not much.

High Fees

To add insult to injury, if you drop below that whopping 25k minimum requirement, Bank Mutual Direct slaps you in the face with a fee to the tune of $125 a month! One-hundred-twenty-five bucks for falling below the magical 25k line? Wow. Just wow.

If you happen to fall below that limit, Bank Mutual Direct will suck away far more in fees than they give you in interest. You’d be better off just stuffing the money under your mattress.

Low Rates

Since Bank Mutual Direct has such as hefty opening minimum deposit and charges such hefty fees, surely they must back it up by paying a hefty interest rate, right? RIGHT?

WRONG. Their current savings rate is a miserly 0.75% APY. Furthermore, since I created the rate wiki, they have consistently placed at or near the very bottom of the rate chart. In other words, they’re not competitive, and I’d be surprised if they ever have been. As of this writing, only two banks place lower in the rate wiki.

Consider this: if you have $24,999 in your Bank Mutual Direct account, you would earn about $15 a month in interest at the current rate. That sucks, right? It doesn’t suck badly enough, according to Bank Mutual Direct, who will then proceed to siphon off $125 from your account to their coffers, just for the privilege of offering you… nothing.

As if stiff requirements, outrageous fees, and pitiful interest rates weren’t bad enough, perhaps their greatest insult to potential customers is the image on the front page of their site, which reads: If you’re looking for the best rate, you’ve come to the right place.

I have taken the liberty to correct their blatant lie in the above image. Bank Mutual Direct is comprised of liars at best, and outright criminals at worst.

It makes me wonder: does anyone even have this account? If so, what do they offer that makes you stay with them? Complimentary back rubs? Personal chef service? Free yearly tickets to Tahiti?